Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Illinois students should return to classrooms this fall – Illinois Policy

Pritzker’s reopening plan, “Restore Illinois,” provides schools and day cares can reopen in Phase 4, subject to guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Each region of Illinois entered Phase 4 June 26.

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Experts Ask Whether Illinois’ Rise In COVID-19 Cases Should Bring Back Restrictions – WBEZ

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Why Illinois Governor Pritzker’s Congressional Testimony On COVID-19 Was False And Hypocritical – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Pritzker, Officials ‘Remain Concerned’ About Increases in Coronavirus Cases, Positivity Rates – NBC5 (Chicago)

Pritzker also posted to Twitter a story about President Donald Trump’s decision to wear a mask during a recent event: "Everyone needs to wear a face covering and social distance when you’re in a public place, even if this is your first time."

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Experts Ask Whether Illinois’ Rise In COVID-19 Cases Should Bring Back Restrictions – WBEZ (Chicago)

Sadiya Khan, an assistant professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, stressed that the number of new cases alone does not paint a complete picture of the virus’ impact, but upticks in that number could be followed by increases in hospitalizations and deaths between two to six weeks later.

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Lawsuit challenging Pritzker’s COVID-19 orders moves toward appellate court – Center Square

Senior Attorney General Tom Verticchio said, “Oftentimes when I say things, there's laughter in this courtroom, but these are serious matters and the appellate court should have the opportunity to hear from which one of these parties lose and the only way we're going to get there is if we have finality."

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Illinois launches $2.1M campaign to prevent abuse of seniors – Champaign News-Gazette

Illinois Department of Aging Director Paul Basta said abuse directly coincides with social isolation. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to stay in dangerous situations because they have nowhere else to go.

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It Takes 3 Weeks To ‘Escape From Illinois’ – ZeroHedge

That's how long it takes to reserve a one-way U-Haul outbound "Everyone is leaving. No one is coming," a U-Haul agent told us a few weeks ago.

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People debate over how cities should be able to use COVID-19 relief money – ABC20 (Springfield)

“The impact of the city is on the revenue side of the ledger," City of Springfield Budget Director Bill McCarty said. "As of right now, all of the funds that have been allocated by the federal government, by the state government, do not reflect that, in terms of the restrictions that are in place."

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Illinoisans will stop receiving increased federal unemployment benefits after July 25 – ABC Chicago

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Public Pensions Primer–How Discount Rates Work – Stump

Perspective of an actuary.

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Two weeks in, Illinois retailers, restaurants still struggling with Phase 4 restrictions – Center Square

Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s Rob Karr said, “We’re on life support, we’re buying time. It’s far from back to normal.” One area Karr said the state is failing business is adapting to the pandemic by easing burdens on small businesses, such as the state law increasing the minimum wage over several years.

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New COVID-19 Cases in Illinois Top 1,000 for Third Straight Day – WTTW

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Illinois celebrates “Unplug Illinois Day” – KWQC

It’s a statewide movement designed to get you to put down electronic devices and get involved in some outdoor activities.

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State of Illinois Accused of Diverting Millions Intended to Help Struggling Businesses – Video – IL Channel

The Illinois Municipal League (IML) and state business leaders today called on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to amend a proposal that would prevent local governments from directly receiving millions of dollars in federal funds to support economic development and help businesses stay afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Property managers help tenants during pandemic – FOX IL

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Three statewide groups oppose Illinois’ CARE funding process – Capitol News IL

"Burdensome, unnecessary” state rules dictating how federal CARES Act — Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security — funds are allocated to local authorities will “likely” make fewer dollars available to officials to use as they deem appropriate, Brad Cole, executive director of the Illinois Municipal League, said at an outdoor event in Springfield.

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Illinois Casinos Benefit From Tax Break Approved During Pandemic – WBEZ

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U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on birth control doesn’t affect Illinois’ insurance mandates – Capitol News IL

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Public pensions are at risk of insolvency, but COVID-19 is not to blame – Tribune News Service

Illinois is ground zero for mismanaged pensions and offers instructive lessons on what not to do. It spends the most in the nation on pensions as a percentage of state and local revenue collections, about double the national average. It increased inflation-adjusted pension spending by more than 500% since 2000. But despite this first-in-the-nation spending, Illinois also has the worst pension-debt-to-revenue ratio among U.S. states, according to Moody’s.

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For Pensions, Valuing Real Estate Is Tough. Covid-19 Brings New Hurdles – Wall Street Journal

Comment: Refreshing candor from Chicago Teachers’ investment chief Angela Miller-May. “If you talk to anyone who says that they know exactly where the market is going and that they have all of the answers, they really don’t know,” she said.

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IDES, Key Bank Blame Each Other For Late Unemployment Benefits Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – ABC Chicago

A new audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security reveals systemic failures long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The audit covered a two-year period ending in June 2019 and found 15 cases of IDES failing to comply with state laws and regulations, including having a lack of internal controls to protect people’s personal information from cyber attacks.

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Illinois Revenues Drop $1.1B in Fiscal 2020 Due to Pandemic – A.P.

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Pritzker: Eviction ban only ‘temporary,’ needed to fight COVID; Landlords can’t claim state is taking their property – Cook County Record

Comment: See our own article on this linked here. The state's defense includes the "police power" argument, which Pritzker ridicules when it comes to pension reform.

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A billion dollars Illinois can’t afford to lose – Crain’s

While providing some direct aid to states, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act is going to cause state income tax revenue to decline even further. Illinois is unwittingly about to allow as much as $1 billion to flow from state coffers to high-income taxpayers.

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Pritzker’s no-eviction order allows renters to rip apart Peoria rental house – JournalStar

See our own article on the eviction moratorium linked here.

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Column: Column: Fix it, J.B.! Four months of failure in handling unemployment claims is enough – Chicago Tribune

Eric Zorn: "The concern here is not for veteran journalists who may have to dip into savings to pay their cable bills, but for those who have been living paycheck to paycheck and find themselves having to navigate a confusing, unfriendly website — if they even have access to a computer — that has a tendency to dump them into telephone hell. It’s a concern for the businesses who rely on their customers getting money to tide them over."

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Comptroller criticized for handling of late bill payments – Capitol News

“I don’t pay interest on interest. That’s going to go to the back of the line,” she said. “I need to make sure that I’m either paying front-line providers or I’m paying down bills that are accruing late payment penalties at 12 percent. That’s the best use of taxpayer money.”

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Nursing home association cautions against complacency during pandemic – Center Square

LeadingAge Illinois President Karen Messer said that for older Americans, the coronavirus threat is not over. “The good news is that we know what to do. It’s time to begin.”

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Column: Promised tax cuts minimal in Pritzker’s progressive plan – Champaign News-Gazette

"The rates, however, are not carved in stone but subject to the dictates of the governor and legislature. They can be raised or lowered anytime the legislature chooses. So what is promised on Jan. 1, 2021, could be dramatically revised by Jan. 1, 2022."

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These Politicians Used To Be Proud Of America. What Changed? – Daily Caller

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) participates in a mock swearing-in with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during the opening day of the 115th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. “All dressed up as historic figures.I just covered myself in Stars&Stripes. Next year I’m going as Mt.Rushmore!” That was Illinois' Tammy Duckworth when she ran for Senate in 2015.

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Analysis ranks Illinois 5th lowest among states for its municipal bond credit outlook – Center Square

The state was ranked 35th for its tax climate and 48th for economic debt and personal income.

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Illinois National Guard winds down service at state’s COVID-19 testing sites – ABC7 (Chicago)

The Illinois National Guard will hand over operations of 11 state-run testing sites to civilian contractors this month.

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Commentary: Public pensions are at risk of insolvency, but COVID-19 is not to blame – Chicago Tribune

"COVID-19 was at least a dress rehearsal for how state politicians will handle the crisis when it inevitably comes. The way politicians in Illinois responded — by asking Congress for $10 billion in pension funding as part of a more than $40 billion bailout request — should serve as a warning for taxpayers across the nation."

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Column: If Gov. Pritzker wants his ‘fair tax,’ it’ll take more than an ad blast – Chicago Tribune

"The governor also missed the chance to cut state expenses in ways that might have given voters confidence in his ability to pare expenses — possibly easing voter fears about future middle-income tax hikes."

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Gov. Pritzker Names New Head Of Unemployment Department Months After Complaints Pile Up – WBEZ (Chicago)

Applicants for jobless benefits have grown so frustrated with the system in Illinois that they have shown up at closed-to-the-public state offices and confronted employees walking in or out of the offices. The governor’s office in turn has spent millions to hire outside contractors and temporary staff to help process claims.

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Commentary: Don’t Bail Out Feckless States Without Strings Attached – Real Clear Politics

"In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker just signed a budget that increases spending by $2.4 billion over last year and relies on $5 billion from a nonexistent federal bailout to partially close a $6 billion deficit. Ironically, this continued disregard for basic fiscal responsibility shows why Illinois stands as the best single argument against state bailouts."

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Pritzker differs with Trump on getting students back in school this fall – Center Square

“We started with the ideas, you know, does the science and the data allow us to send kids back to school and if so in what manner,” Pritzker said. “That’s why I was so frustrated to see the president just sort of pronounce that ‘well everyone should open their schools.'"

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Group says local governments’ hands tied in COVID-19 economic response – Capitol News

In May, when the General Assembly met in Springfield for a truncated special session, legislators approved a budget plan that specified how those funds were to be disbursed by several entities: the Departments of Commerce and Economic Development, Revenue, Human Services and Healthcare and Family Services, as well as the Emergency Management Agency.

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Another 39K file jobless claims in Illinois – Capitol News

At the same time, however, the U.S. Department of Labor reported a sharp increase in first-time claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the federally-funded program for independent contractors and others who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance. Initial filings under that program rose 31 percent to 42,785.

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Madigan asks for removal of Stephen Douglas statue – WCIA

Madigan wants to immediately cover up the portrait of Lincoln’s former rival and eventually replace it with one of Barack Obama.

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Column: Along with bad, analyst offers some good economic news – Champaign News-Gazette

Jim Dey: "The national and state economy is slowly being opened, too fast for some and too slow for others. But further progress is not guaranteed because, Varner said, 'threats associated with the COVID-19 pandemic continue to weigh on the economy.'"

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Illinois has worst youth employment in Midwest, biggest drop amid COVID-19 pandemic – Illinois Policy

Nearly 1 in 3 Illinoisans age 16-19 would have a job if not for the pandemic and associated lockdown measures. Additionally this summer, Illinois’ minimum wage became the highest among neighboring states at $10 an hour. States with lower minimum wages can more easily afford to keep their teens working, regardless of pandemic restrictions.

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Marquette University thereatened to resceind student’s admission over pro-Trump video – College Fix

She was contacted by Brian Troyer, dean of undergraduate admissions at Marquette, who she said told her her acceptance to the school was far from certain. “[He] had the heart to tell me I wasn’t a student,” Pfefferle said. “This means that my classification is still in limbo and is currently being decided by the administration. I have been accepted, I paid for my housing, I have my roommates, I even have a complete class schedule. If that doesn’t make me a student, what does?”  

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U Illinois admits ‘white supremacy,’ ‘white privilege’ workshop is ‘not a debate’ – Campus Reform

The school further explains that "this workshop is not a debate: This is not a platform for debating the existence of white privilege or white supremacy," says the description. "It is assumed that participants already acknowledge these concepts, though they will be reviewed and defined in accessible terms."

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Will Public Pensions In Illinois — and Elsewhere — Crash? Here’s What Will Make The Difference – Forbes

Columnist Jane the Actuary cites Wirepoints' analysis in her report, "(T)he question of how Illinois... will fare is not a matter of actuarial analysis — it’s a matter of political will. And all the good proclamations of, say, a Governor Pritzker, are at risk of wilting once the commitment to pension funding requires more than the hope of federal cash but instead genuine fiscal discipline, hard choices, and upsetting voting blocs."

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Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a ‘coward’ – The Hill

“Keep in mind that Tammy Duckworth is not a child, at least not technically — she is a sitting United States senator, who is often described as a hero,” he said. “Yet Duckworth is too afraid to defend her own statements on a cable TV show. What a coward.”

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Commentary: Illinois’ ‘fair tax’ amendment and the promises our politicians won’t keep – Chicago Tribune

"It would be great if we could believe our representatives when they say that they are looking out for our best interests. But the new gas tax hike clearly shows they have no qualms with raising taxes on Illinois’ middle-class residents."

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Illinois Launches 12 New Mobile COVID-19 Testing Teams – CBS2 (Chicago)

The governor said the mobile testing sites can be moved as needed to areas with “emerging outbreaks” of the virus; such as at meat packing plants, nursing homes, migrant worker housing, or other communities with less access to traditional testing.

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Nursing homes are linked to more than 55% of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois. Should residents be moved out? – WBEZ (Chicago)

A new coalition of disability rights groups is calling on Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker to take emergency action. “While the nursing homes may be cutting off social contact in the name of safety, why in the name of security is more not done to protect people in nursing homes with protected gear?” one advocate asked.

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New law gives Illinois Medicaid recipients access to clinical trials – Center Square

More than 20 percent of Illinoisans are covered by Medicaid, making it the second-largest type of insurance behind Medicare.

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Pritzker seeks federal funding to cover state, local government revenue losses – Center Square

“If you can spend trillions of dollars helping large corporations survive, $500 [billion] to support state and local governments, which provide such vital resources for our residents, I would say is a small price to pay,” Pritzker told the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday.

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AG asks Clay County judge to rule on last issue in Bailey’s lawsuit – Capitol News

Until Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney decides whether Pritzker’s April 30 emergency declaration correctly defines COVID-19 as a disaster, the state is procedurally barred from asking a higher court to reconsider the Xenia Republican representative’s lawsuit.

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Red-light camera vendor at heart of corruption probes gets PPP loan – Illinois Policy

Politicians from suburbs in Cook County all the way to Springfield have been charged with multiple counts of corruption related to their relationship with SafeSpeed, although the company’s chief has denied wrongdoing or knowing bribes were being paid.

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Chicago planning airport and GO refunding deals – The Bond Buyer

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Local business group weighs in on proposed graduated income tax – WREX-TV (Rockford)

The Rockford-based Technology & Manufacturing Association said the amendment would put a burden on small business owners, families and seniors especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. "It just opens our tax code up from a free and fair and an understood one to one where politics enters in," TMA President Steve Rauschenberger said.

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Editorial: Hope not enough to stem state budget crisis – Kankakee Daily Journal

"The feds may indeed bail out Illinois. But if the feds don’t, Mendoza says draconian budget cuts are in store to make it through the fiscal year. It’s a situation that begs for advance planning, including planning for a potential doomsday scenario. But instead, the attitude seems to be worry not. We have hope in our corner."

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Pritzker calls for national face-covering requirements – Center Square

During a virtual hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Wednesday, Pritzker criticized the federal government for not implementing the Defense Production act early on in the COVID-19 pandemic:"States were forced to play some sick hunger games game show to save the lives of people. This is not a reality TV show. These are real things that are happening.”

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Despite Pritzker’s optimism, group warns Illinois about COVID-19 metrics – Center Square

The coalition of labor unions, environmental advocates and public health associations wants to ensure the state is “following the science” in its plan to reopen. “There’s a fatigue,” said Tom Hughes, director of the Illinois Public Health Association. “I think people are tired.”

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Pritzker ‘fair tax’ would allow for double, triple taxation on same $1 earned – Illinois Policy

"Lawmakers could, for example, enact a 1% pension tax surcharge on top of the normal rates if voters approve the amendment. In fact, multiple taxation schemes have appeared in governments with progressive tax systems before. In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that imposed a 10% federal surcharge on income to help fund the Vietnam War."

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Governor Pritzker’s testimony before U.S. House Homeland Security Committee – Video – Youtube

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Governor JB Pritzker certifies that the State of Illinois is ‘not insolvent’ – Truth in Accounting

"For the purposes of this certification, a person or entity is “insolvent” if it is in bankruptcy or any other Federal or State insolvency proceeding (as defined in paragraph B(ii) of Section 13(3) of the Act), or if the person or entity was generally failing to pay undisputed debts as they become due during the 90 days preceding the date of borrowing under the Facility."

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One Shawnee seeks to tackle ‘crisis level of rural poverty’ in southernmost Illinois – The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale)

"In the 10-county region, about 18% of people live in poverty, compared to 12% in the state as a whole. The childhood poverty rates are even more staggering...A lot of people are frustrated — and many blame Springfield. They see the state’s financial predicament putting a squeeze on Southern Illinois, and also look to state government to reverse the economic decline the region has experienced."

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Lawsuit: Lightfoot, Pritzker ‘selective’ enforcement of COVID-19 orders violates IL state constitution – Cook County Record

“When faced with protesters, and the assembly of people she agreed with, or people whose political support she desired, Lightfoot did not disburse or interfere with their violations of each and every of the restrictions on the rights and liberties of citizens which (she) had deemed to be life and death matters just the day before,” the complaint said.

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Public Forums & The First Amendment: Can Streets Be Painted With ‘Black Lives Matter’ Messaging? – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Column: Pritzker’s $56 Million For ‘Fair Tax’ Values Politics Over People – Patch Chicago

Mark Konkol: "(I)t's hard to see what's so fair about a governor leveraging his billions to court votes for a tax increase...Not when nearly 2 million people rely on food assistance programs and community pantries are serving more people than ever before...There's got to be a better way for our governor to spend $56 million during times like these."

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Documents: Taxpayers paid more than $22 billion to over 200,000 Illinois businesses to retain 2.1 million jobs – Center Square

More than 27,400 businesses got at least $150,000 through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The loans were turned into grants if most of the money was used to retain employees.

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Opposing groups readying for battle over tax amendment – Capitol News

On Tuesday, in four cities, a group of business-tied organizations – including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Farm Bureau, National Federation of Independent Business-Illinois and the Technology and Manufacturing Association – called concurrent news conferences in four cities to make their case.

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Illinois, regional economies shrink in first quarter – Capitol News

The overall decline in Illinois was greater than the national average of 5 percent but smaller than the average for the Great Lakes region, which was 5.7 percent. Neighboring states Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin all fared better than Illinois, while Indiana and Kentucky fared slightly worse.

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Illinois promised in April to improve the system to file for unemployment benefits. But people are still having trouble, and ‘hundreds of thousands of calls’ come in every week. – Chicago Tribune

On June 26, dozens of state representatives sent a letter to Thomas Chan, acting director of the department, asking the agency to revamp how it handles phone calls and help resolve outstanding cases. “These constituents are left feeling incredibly frustrated, with no confidence in state government’s ability to provide the relief they are entitled to -- and despite their best efforts, our staff are unable to help."

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Illinois Law School Grads Ask State To Let Them Skip The Bar Exam Because Of COVID-19 – WBEZ (Chicago)

“We don’t have the resources to keep extending our inability to work because we can’t be attorneys without being licensed,” said Anabel Abarca, a 2020 graduate from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

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Jim Dey: Pritzker backs tax plan with whopping contribution – Champaign News-Gazette

"Former California Democratic House Speaker Jesse Unruh once described money as 'the mother’s milk of politics.' While that’s true, it’s not always dispositive in terms of laying the groundwork for successful campaigns. Plenty of lavishly funded campaigns and candidates have gone down to defeat."

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As Tollway Transactions Dive Nearly 28%, Drivers Given Latitude on Skipped Tolls – WTTW (Chicago)

Money paid in tolls is used to repair and maintain stretches of highways, including the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) and the Veteran’s Memorial Tollway (I-355). The agency will not cut back on road projects, nor lay off employees.

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Editorial: Want to revive the economy? Fewer lectures, more personal responsibility. – Chicago Tribune

"What torpedoed the longest expansion in American history was the new coronavirus and the disruptions it caused. And the virus is not going away. It’s not under control. Uncertainty is the new normal."

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Slow processing, lost markets mean new challenges for livestock farmers – Center Square

“Even if you get to the processor, it’s sitting in the warehouse someplace, in refrigerators and freezers somewhere, waiting for restaurants and foodservice and schools to open back up,” an industry spokesperson said. “So the forecasted prices are actually really really bad for the fourth quarter of 2020 because again we're gonna have too much supply and not enough demand.”

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‘Blackout Day’ protest encourages shoppers to buy from Black-owned businesses, boycott others – ABC7 (Chicago)

Organizers of the boycott said the goal is to show the power of minority consumers in America. According to the Brookings Institution, Black people in the U.S. hold about 2.5% of the nation's wealth.

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State revenues down $1.1 billion in last fiscal year – State Journal-Register (Springfield)

Most of the decline resulted from the drop in revenue from the personal income tax, which was down $947 million, or 4.2%. Corporate income taxes dropped just over 14%, a $430 million decrease. Sales tax collections dropped $206 million.

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Businesses across state closing include mix of early retirements prompted by pandemic – Center Square

“What are you doing to breathe back the life into your downtown and we just need to kind of find that new generation of people to do it,” said one Springfield business owner. “And so I think the timing is kind of great for that if we can just find the entrepreneurs to step up.”

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COVID-19 cases are spiking in states across the country. How does Illinois compare? – Chicago Tribune

Those statistics offer some good news for Illinoisans, at first blush: We’re far below peak case levels, and not even close to being as bad as the most struggling states. The bad news: Illinois’ big drops of late May and early June are history — and some daily metrics are increasing.

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Black Lives Matter tensions flare over wearing BLM gear at Starbucks, other workplaces – Chicago Tribune

Employers, reluctant to alienate customers or employees, may hope banning personal statements across the board will keep conflict at bay. But they must consider the legal ramifications of restricting certain forms of expression, and the cost of bad publicity and poor employee morale.

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COVID-19 lawsuits linger in Illinois, federal courts while state has yet to file appeal in Clay County case – Center Square

There’s the case Illinois Republicans have in federal court against the governor’s crowd limits, the lawsuits businesses have in state courts against the governor’s orders, and filing a motion for summary judgment against regulations for masks and temperature checks for schools.

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Several Illinois cities rank high on list of best places to live after pandemic – Center Square

A new analysis from Business Insider used nine economic, educational and demographic metrics for its ranking, including population density, housing affordability, commute times, and school spending per student.

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Pritzker spends $51.5M to push tax that would hit 100,000 small businesses – Illinois Policy

Pritzker almost single-handedly has been funding the Vote Yes for Fairness committee being run by his former deputy campaign manager. Besides the $51.5 million donated June 26, he gave $5 million in December. One other individual donated $250, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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Despite early warnings from governor’s health advisers, COVID-19 testing lags in Illinois prisons – Center Square

The Department of Corrections said it has performed more than 1,000 tests so far. There are about 40,000 inmates in IDOC prisons and more than 10,000 employees.

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Illinois passed a record-breaking income tax hike 3 years ago. Here’s where the money went. – Illinois Policy

The 2017 tax hike has not translated into more stable state finances or better services for state residents. Over $1.2 billion of the more than $5 billion in additional revenue has gone to servicing state pension and bond debt, roughly a quarter of the new money raised.

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Taking A Knee – Points & Figures

"I recall my first day at the US Air Force Academy.... We were taught how to stand at attention. We weren’t taught to take a knee."

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Op-ed: University towns poised to become the next COVID-19 epicenters – Indianapolis Star

"Even universities in cities like Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia, with a large higher education presence, must consider their host community when making academic business decisions...Large cities are equipped to absorb such surges (in cases of COVID-19), while medium and small university towns are certain to be overwhelmed."

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Sen. Tammy Duckworth: “Listen To The Argument” For Removing Statues Of George Washington – Real Clear Politics

ABC reported this weekend that Duckworth is on a shortlist to be vetted to be Joe Biden's running mate.

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Sen. Duckworth says she will block over 1,100 military promotions until Pentagon protects impeachment witness Vindman – USA Today

Duckworth said in a statement, "This goes far beyond any single military officer, it is about protecting a merit-based system from political corruption and unlawful retaliation.”

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Gov. JB Pritzker donates $51.5M more for taxes initiative – ABC7 (Chicago)

The money is in addition to the $5 million donation the governor made last December.

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After minor league baseball cancels season, Illinois cities prepare for impact – Center Square

There are eight minor league teams in the state, including in Joliet, Peoria, Geneva, and Marion. "Having the team here brings in a lot of commerce on our hospitality industry," said Cody Moake, the Marion mayor’s chief of staff.

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Justice Kavanaugh denies emergency request from Illinois GOP groups seeking to hold large rallies – Fox News

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Black rookie Chicago cop says he’s leaving police union over criticism of kneeling officers. ‘The FOP has not been welcoming to folks like me’ – Chicago Tribune

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Coronavirus Illinois: IL COVID-19 cases increase by 862 to over 146K

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For Chicago’s LGBTQ Minority Activists, This Time Is Different – WBEZ

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Sen. Tammy Duckworth Op-Ted: These are true patriots. Trump sees them as enemies. – CNN

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COVID-19 Cases Are On The Rise In Some Parts Of Illinois. This Worries Experts. – WBEZ

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John Kass: On Independence Day, how about this slogan: ‘Who controls the past controls the future.’ –

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

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Pritzker contributes $51.5 million to committee seeking voter approval for graduated-rate income tax, records show – Chicago Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has contributed another $51.5 million to a ballot initiative committee backing an amendment to the Illinois Constitution allowing for a graduated-rate income tax, a show of force in what is expected to be an expensive and contentious battle over the billionaire governor’s signature policy goal.

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Reach of circuit judge’s ruling on Pritzker’s orders unclear – State Journal-Register

Comment: This dispute will be ended quickly, one way or another, upon an appeal.

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Pritzker’s Covid-19 orders no longer exist. Period. – ChicagoNow

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Interstate Travel Restrictions Are Just Political Posturing – Reason

There's a strong hint of tit-for-tat in a move that has little to do with health and a lot to do with regional and political posturing in a not-so-united country. The interstate chest-puffing might have some entertainment value, but Americans shouldn't feel any obligation to obey the pointless rules.

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Judge strikes down Pritzker’s COVID-19 orders, extended emergency powers – Illinois Policy

Pritzker is expected to appeal the decision. However, a 2001 informal opinion drafted by Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Luke suggested that the governor would need legislative approval to extend the 30-day period.

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On this Fourth of July, heed this warning from Ben Franklin – Chicago Sun-Times

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COVID-19 Cases Are On The Rise In Some Parts Of Illinois. This Worries Experts. – WBEZ (Chicago)

Illinois has tested an average of 29,000 people per day in the past week, which is much higher than average testing rates during the peak of the pandemic. But two Illinois epidemiologists said more data is needed to understand those increased testing numbers. “Say they are testing the baseball team every single day. That’s going to be leading you a different direction versus this is all people coming to the ER with symptoms."

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Gov. Pritzker beats GOP federal case, loses downstate county challenge – WIFR

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Op-Ed: If Illinois passes progressive income tax, retirement tax comes next – Center Square

"Thirty-two states have a progressive income tax system. And all 32 tax some form of retirement income."

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Illinois’ increased minimum wage during pandemic will impact local governments, nonprofits – Center Square

Washington University Professor of Finance Radha Gopalan said there’s “no silver lining” for local governments by increasing the minimum wage at the same time tax receipts are down. There could be layoffs. “I wouldn't be surprised if that happens given the budget deficits that local governments are facing right now."

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COVID-19 hospital bed usage is highest since June 19 – Capitol News

There were 195 ventilators in use by COVID-19 patients at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, an increase of six from the day prior and the second straight day the number saw an increase.

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Unemployment claims dip slightly as state reopens – Capitol News

In addition to those workers who qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, another 32,587 Illinoisans filed first-time claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, more than triple the number from the week before.

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Yes for Fair Tax video

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Florida gained $95 billion in gross income over 8 years because of domestic migration – Center Square

Overall, the 17 states with either no income tax or a flat income tax attracted a net 1.9 million residents and $120 billion in AGI from those states with progressive income tax systems during that time period, Wirepoints reported.

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Commission to ‘Restore Illinois’ issues first report without meeting – Center Square

“The report submitted acknowledges where Illinois is today, having just entered Phase 4 of the plan, with considerable progress made toward slowing the spread of COVID-19 and reopening businesses since May 5th,” DCEO spokesperson Lauren Huffman said in a statement Thursday. Download a copy of the report here.

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As many as 21,700 restaurants could close permanently from COVID-19 economic fallout – Illinois Policy

The accommodation and food services sector has been among the hardest hit with job losses since February, with employment down 233,500 (-44%) from February to May.

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Every state with a progressive tax also taxes retirement income – Illinois Policy

Another thing progressive income tax states have in common is low growth rates. Four of the five slowest growing states – West Virginia, Connecticut, Vermont and Mississippi – all have progressive income taxes, according to a study by the Illinois Policy Institute. The fifth state on the slow-growth list is Illinois.

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Steve Rauschenberger: Four good reasons to reject the progressive tax proposal – IL Review

"One, there's a financial problem; two, there's a jobs problem; three, there's a trust problem and four, there's a fairness problem," Rauschenberger says in a video interview released by the Technology & Manufacturing Association this week.

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Mendoza: New fiscal year will be even more challenging than height of budget impasse – Capitol News

“You can pass whatever budget you want,” she said. “If the revenues don't come in the way you'd like them to, then there's not enough money to go around for all of the priorities that are represented by that budget. So, at the end of the day, we'll have to see month-to-month what our revenues look like. It's so completely up in the air.”

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Survey shows opposition to tax increase after pandemic – Center Square

“When we asked about unemployment numbers, almost 80 percent of Americans think that unemployment will not return to normal until at least the end of 2021, if ever,” said an analyst for survey sponsor WalletHub.

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Commission created to help revive Illinois misses initial report deadline – Center Square

State Rep. Dan Caulkins, a Republican member of the commission, said they haven’t even met.

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10 New Illinois Laws Taking Effect July 1 – NBC Chicago

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How Long Should Illinois Extend its Eviction Moratorium? – WTTW

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Hutsonville Public School District notified IDPH/ISBE it declines to implement Joint Directives – Illinois Leaks

Among the reasons listed for its declination, "Governor Pritzker has admitted no enforcement mechanism exists."

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Raoul asks federal judge to force recognition of Equal Rights Amendment’s ratification – Capitol News

The case centers on a decision by U.S. National Archivist David Ferriero, who was effectively ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice to deem passage of the Equal Rights Amendment unsuccessful because multiple states missed a key congressional deadline.

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Pritzker fact check: Do most other states really have a ‘fair tax’? – Illinois Policy

In 18 of the 32 states that allow politicians to tax people differently based on income, the maximum tax rate hits at or near Illinois’ median family income of $79,168.

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Dart, other county sheriffs demand state prisons start accepting inmates again – Chicago Sun-Times

As of Friday, there were more than 350 inmates housed at the Cook County Jail that should be in the custody of the IDOC, according to the sheriff’s office. Some of these inmates served their sentences but need to to be transferred to IDOC custody before their release.

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Rep. Hammond explains goals for budget oversight commission – WGEM (Quincy)

The commission of 14 Democrats and eight Republicans will monitor the governor's spending on state essential services and COVID-19 relief. Members will receive their first monthly report from the Office of Management and Budget on August 15.

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Coronavirus response | UI professor: U.S. could face ‘infection tsunami’ – News-Gazette

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$250M to assist Illinois communities in COVID-19 response – ABC20 (Springfield)

The state will expedite a portion of dollars from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) designated for local governments by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane, and Lake Counties have already received direct allocations of CRF dollars under the CARES Act.

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U.S. States Beg, Borrow and Cut to Close Massive Budget Gaps – Bloomberg

"The budget that Illinois enacted earlier this month allows the state to borrow up to $5 billion from the Federal Reserve that could be repaid with anticipated federal aid...Illinois’s spending plan is 'precariously balanced,' according to S&P Global Ratings."

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Coronavirus may add to strains for already frail Chicago pension funds – Bond Buyer

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A year after doubling, Illinois’ gas tax to increase annually – Center Square

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee: “How can you write a law, and how can you vote to pass a law that increases taxes every single year forever, no matter what the legislature does? They literally have to repeal it to get rid of it.”

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Illinois’ pandemic budget relies on $6.5 billion in revenue that hasn’t materialized – Center Square

Truth In Accounting Research Director Bill Bergman said “Even amid the pandemic, it’s as if the behavior hasn’t changed within the government. It’s as if you and I can borrow our way on to balancing our own budget by running up its credit card, so I guess the bottom line is Illinois hasn’t learned its own lesson.”

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Hospitalizations tick upward as positivity rate remains low – Capitol News

Ventilator use by COVID-19 patients dropped to its lowest point since the state began daily reporting of the figure, with 185 in use at the end of Monday – a decrease of two from the day prior.

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Illinois fireworks ban costing the state jobs, money, independence – Illinois Policy

In Indiana, Independence Day creates economic growth. Indiana brings in $2.5 million each year in tax revenue by imposing a 5% tax on pyrotechnics – atop the sales taxes – and a $276 retailer fee, according to the Tax Foundation.

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Fed survey shows Illinois manufacturers resilient through pandemic – Center Square

“Every manufacturing job in Illinois creates 1.6 jobs and every dollar invested in manufacturing leads to $1.89 in economic output,” said Mark Denzler, president of the Illinois Manufacturing Association. “You’re losing good middle-class jobs that pay about an average of $80,000 a year in wages and benefits.”

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Millions for COVID-19 contact tracers to be distributed soon – Daily Herald

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that $230 million to employ contact tracers in Illinois' 97 local health departments "is on its way out the door, with final disbursement coming in the next few weeks." IJuly the state will invite qualifying community-based organizations to participate in the contact tracing initiative.

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Democrats And Republicans Are Critical Of Pritzker’s Handling Of COVID-19 In Prisons – WBEZ (Chicago)

One lawsuit filed against the state prison system contends the state has only tested about 2% of its prison population. The state itself has not reported the total number of tests it has administered in prisons.

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Federal court sends Darren Bailey lawsuit on Pritzker’s order back to state court – Edgar County Watchdogs

Comment: You will recall that Bailey won his initial case in state court but refiled it to add additional claims. The state then attempted to remove the case to Federal Court, which that Federal court has now rejected. The state trial court now presumably will reinstate its decision against the order, which will be appealed in state courts.

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Illinois’ cap on gathering size is akin to building occupancy rules, Raoul says – Chicago Crusader

An exemption of religious institutions included in Pritzker’s executive order follows the federal and state government’s history of providing those houses of worship “separate and unique safeguards against governmental action against free exercise,” the state wrote in its court filing.

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Some wonder if reopening businesses will push Illinois back to Phase 3 – ABC20 (Springfield)

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Todd Maisch said returning back to Phase 3 would lead to further economic problems and Illinois officials should explore other options. "We think we need to move away from this whole notion of phases to essentially say, 'Are you a safe place to be or not?'"

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$10 minimum wage effective Wednesday, some worry Illinois businesses will suffer – WSILTV (Carterville)

Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik notes business owners have already received assistance, adding that small businesses will benefit from tax credits through the same minimum wage legislation.

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OP-Ed:Take it from me: COVID-19 is serious – Chicago Sun-Times

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Venting or violence? Police probe death threats against Gov. Pritzker over his COVID-19 orders – Chicago Sun-Times

Pritzker has been the target of so many threats over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that the Illinois State Police needed a PowerPoint presentation to detail them all. Some blustered that the governor needs his “a— whooped.” Others detailed plans to assassinate him, using everything from knives or 12-gauge shotguns to nuclear devices.

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State, local video gambling revenue down $105 million during Illinois COVID-19 shutdown – Center Square

Other Springfield officials said the lack of hotel and convention activity because of limits on gatherings of 50 or more is costing the city tens of millions of dollars in economic activity and millions in city revenue.

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Report says Illinois was ill-prepared for pandemic – Capitol News

The report by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization with strong ties to organized labor, blames primarily a pre-existing shortage of nurses and argues that the state would be in a better position if nurses at more hospitals were unionized.

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Op-Ed: Opinions differ on masks’ value in containing pandemic – Champaign News-Gazette

Mark Glennon: "The point, instead, is that this is yet another instance of bad “science and data,” which routinely go unquestioned. Instead of working toward a true understanding of what’s behind the course of the virus, we get politicized claptrap from politicians."

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Senator Seeks Tax Break For Looting Victims – Alton Daily News

“While it won't cover everything, I think, at a minimum, these businesses that have already suffered under COVID, they ought to be compensated, or at least be given a small tax credit to make up for at least a portion of their losses,” said State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, who has filed legislation to allow for a property tax credit in the same amount as whatever financial hit was taken.

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Did Illinois get it right? – ABC20 (Springfield)

“Based on the data it's not too soon for us to move into Phase 4 the data suggest we should’ve moved into phase 4 weeks ago and as far as what people should be doing right now they should continue to wash their hands continue to social distance,” said Senator Steve McClure, R-Springfield.

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Illinois tops neighboring states with $10 minimum wage on July 1 – Illinois Policy

If voters Nov. 3 were to remove the Illinois Constitution’s flat tax protection and allow lawmakers greater power to set tax rates, it will raise taxes on over 100,000 small businesses in Illinois by up to 47%. Small businesses were responsible for 60% of Illinois’ job creation since the Great Recession.

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10 ways Illinois schools will look different this fall – State Journal-Register (Springfield)

The entire “Starting the 2020-2021 School Year” guidance document from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health can be found on ISBE’s website. Here are 10 highlights.

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Jim Dey | Does anyone know anything about the pandemic? – News-Gazette

"Wirepoints policy analysts Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner opined in mid-June that 'case positivity rates downstate have collapsed for nearly two straight months and never reached the highs seen in Chicagoland.'"

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Landlords: Pritzker’s eviction bans amount to illegal state taking of rental properties – Cook County Record

Comment: We will be watching this and similar lawsuits closely and writing about them soon. The state's position on this seems indefensible.

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Community Groups, Not Police, Will Likely Get $20M From Criminal Justice Grants – WBEZ (Chicago)

Blaire Lewis, who was on the committee and is manager of Advocate Trauma Recovery Center, said the federal funding has a much better chance of making a big impact with these smaller organizations which do work like intervene in street conflicts, provide services to the men closest to gun violence, support survivors of domestic violence, assist people who have been raped and provide counseling to trauma survivors. “I know for a fact that it would have a major impact to be able to say, ‘oh, you need cleaning supplies … here's some cleaning supplies.’”

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CDC Antibody Studies Confirm Huge Gap Between COVID-19 Infections and Known Cases – Reason

Comment: See our own article on this topic here as it pertains to Illinois.

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Bustos now considers ‘Black Lives Matter’ a movement with ‘credibility’ after saying in 2017, ‘I don’t dwell on them’ – WCIA (Champaign)

"The word defund is not part of the bill that we will be voting on. And I think it’s fair to take a look at budgeting and and how a budget is used. A budget is a statement of the community’s values."

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Pritzker’s eviction moratorium challenged by Rockford landlord – Rockford Register Star

“But we need access to the courts for those tenants who have been unresponsive or are violating leases in ways unrelated to COVID-19,” one landlord said. The judge gave the governor a July 5 deadline to respond to the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order.

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States with the highest tax burden from 2009 to 2018 – Video Clip – Truth in Accounting

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Some states are seeing coronavirus cases skyrocket. We’re not. At least not yet. Why? – Indianapolis Star

"Or maybe the state has through equal parts good planning and good luck happened upon the right combination for making the most of weeks of 'stay at home' orders to tamp down the virus to manageable levels."

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Watch now: Decatur event seeks support for law enforcement – Herald and Review (Decatur)

“And did you notice yesterday with the Bunn shooting, they didn't call counselors, they called police,” Tim Wortman added, referring to the workplace shooting at Bunn-o-Matic in Springfield on Friday.

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Illinois lawmakers will consider police reform, but defunding isn’t on the agenda – Herald and Review (Decatur)

"This is not an affront on the police. ... What they do day in and day out, they're real-life superheroes," state Sen. Christopher Belt said. "But by the same token, the law has to be applied evenly and equally to everyone." The state's police union, however, is prepared for "anti-police" legislation.

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Illinois prepares to borrow $3.8 billion for unemployment fund – Center Square

It borrowed $1.4 billion during the Great Recession. It took five years to repay that money through a joint funding agreement with Illinois’ business community.

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Pritzker won’t delay state’s minimum wage increase – Center Square

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said small businesses need some relief. “If unemployment rates double and minimum wage goes up at a time when businesses are struggling that's going to be very difficult to try and jumpstart."

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Driving privilege changes, LGBTQ+ history curriculum among Illinois’ new laws – State Journal-Register (Springfield)

Along with the minimum wage increase to $10 an hour, here are some of the several laws that take effect Wednesday as the state heads into the 2021 fiscal year.

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Pritzker: GOP challenge to COVID powers just ‘talking points’: GOP: Pritzker’s orders ‘content discrimination’ – Cook County Record

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Trump slams Illinois governor, mayor over violence in Chicago, calls for ‘law and order’ – The Hill

Full text of Trump's letter is here.

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Opinion: Wisconsin is teaching the nation a lesson on budgets – The Hill

"While states like Illinois struggle with debt and pension liabilities, Wisconsin and other states will be able to quickly bounce back from the pandemic. It’s a classic cautionary tale: the prudent, careful state will come out with more freedom, while the tax-and-spend state will be forced to beg other states for charity."

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How the Janus decision changed America – The Hill

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Illinois Treasurer says progressive tax needed to tax high-earning retirees – Center Square

Illinois is one of a handful of states that does not tax retirement or pension income as taxable revenue.

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Clean energy can renew economy – One Illinois

Almost three-quarters of a million people were employed in what’s considered clean-energy industries at the end of last year across 12 Midwest states, led by more than 125,000 each in Illinois and Michigan. The sector grew 5 percent since 2017, four times faster than the rest of the economy even in the relative boom ahead of the COVID collapse.

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Asians Are The Fastest Growing Racial Demographic In Illinois – WBEZ (Chicago)

Illinois has also witnessed the steepest decline in Black population among all U.S. states since 2010 — both in number and by percentage. The state’s Black population has fallen by about 56,000, or 3%, since 2010.

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Pritzker, Lightfoot respond after Trump pens letter offering help on Chicago violence – WGN

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Real property tax relief must come from Springfield – Opinion – Crain’s

The tax hikes will devastate Cook County businesses, which already stagger under unsustainable property tax loads. Owners of apartments and office buildings will pass along at least some of the rising tax tab to tenants through rent hikes, driving the steep costs of living and doing business here even higher. Illinois policymakers continue to ignore the long-term economic effects of excessive property taxes. A legislative task force appointed late last year to study alternative funding sources for local government services accomplished nothing, lending credence to skepticism that the group was mere window-dressing for Pritzker's graduated income tax proposal.

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Huge drop in Illinois home sales due to COVID-19 might be great for sellers, but not for buyers: ‘There’s a feeding frenzy.’ – Chicago Tribune

Both the steady prices and quick turnarounds are byproducts of the drop in inventory, experts said, which was dramatically impacted by the stay-at-home order and its now-partially-lifted ban on in-person open houses and restrictions on showings.

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Trump throws darts at Lightfoot, Pritzker over crime while offering help with ‘unsolved challenges’ – Chicago Sun-Times

“Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect. I am concerned it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women in law enforcement,” Trump wrote.

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Wisconsin lost $3.7 billion in gross income over 8 years due to domestic migration – Center Square

Overall, the 17 states with either no income tax or a flat income tax attracted a net 1.9 million residents and $120 billion in AGI from those states with progressive income tax systems during that time period, Wirepoints reported

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State continued unemployment claims remain over 700,000 – Capitol News

While that was a decrease of 4,401 continued unemployment claims overall from the previous week, according to the data, the state still saw 46,005 new initial claims for the week ending June 20, an increase of 1,311 new claims from the previous week.

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Illinois’ Minimum Wage to Increase to $10 an Hour July 1 – NBC5 (Chicago)

The current minimum wage in Cook County, which is $12 an hour, will increase to $13 per hour also starting on July 1. In the city of Chicago, the current minimum wage of $13 an hour will be raised to $13.50 per hour for businesses with four to 20 employees.

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Families: Gov. Pritzker’s Nursing Home Liability Order Strips Justice – NBC5 (Chicago)

Jacqueline Stevens, a political science professor from Northwestern University, requested under the Freedom of Information Act all correspondence from members of the governor’s office in relation to the order. She found hospital CEOs and lobbyists for the nursing home industry were consulted but not patient advocates.

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Tammy Duckworth Is Battle Tested. Could She Help Joe Biden in His Biggest Mission? – New York Times

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CDC admits true coronavirus count is likely to be 10 times higher than official count – Reuters

Comment: That's good news, of course, because those additional cases weren't known because the victims never got sick. Antibody testing is the basis for this new finding, which the Pritzker Administration has stonewalled.

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As state enters Phase 4 Friday, Pritzker ‘not afraid’ to move backwards if COVID-19 cases surge – Capitol News

Pritzker also announced the state launched 12 mobile community testing teams that will move throughout the state to “mitigate and suppress emerging outbreaks, including places like meatpacking plants, nursing homes, or other traceable gatherings.” The state has also increased its number of contact tracers by 20 percent since June 1 and has more than 550 active.

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Blame Illinois exodus on jobs, housing, tax policy – Illinois Policy

Being one of only four states seeing population losses during the past decade is a big problem. It makes Illinois poorer and less diverse. It also exposes the deeper problems of jobs and housing.

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Those Filing For Unemployment Get The Runaround; ‘I Need Help And There’s No Help’ – CBS2 (Chicago)

The acting director of IDES made a presentation to legislators on Monday, revealing a startling statistic: The department receives about 200,000 calls from unique claimants a week and they can respond to 15%.

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Automatic state worker pay hikes, gas tax hike coming to Illinois July 1 – Illinois Policy

Nearly 1 in 4 Illinoisans is out of a job. Many are still fighting the state’s Rube Goldberg machine of an unemployment system to get the federal money they were promised. So how fair is it that some of the highest-paid state employees in the nation are getting a raise that must be funded by an economically wounded bunch of taxpayers?

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John Kass: Today’s cultural revolution needs a new statue. She’s French, but is she woke enough? – MSN

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Raoul says limit on gatherings regulates Illinoisans’ conduct, not speech – Daily Herald

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GAO report to Congress supports Trump administration COVID-19 response criticisms by Pritzker – ABC Chicago

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Expert says fraud fears unfounded as Illinois expands vote-by-mail – Center Square

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Study examines job recoveries in states during pandemic restrictions – Center Square

Illinois ranked 22nd in the country in the quickest job recovery since last week, and ninth since the pandemic began.

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Op-Ed: Responsibility ends when Illinois leaders switch into ‘automatic’ – Center Square

No need to make politically unpopular decisions, because that state gasoline tax automatically goes up on July 1. Same for lawmakers giving themselves $1,800 raises while being able to claim: “We didn’t vote for those. They were automatic.”

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Lawmaker suing Illinois governor calls Pritzker’s continued orders ‘hollow’ – Center Square

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Recession Rocks State and Local Pensions, ‘Funding Gap’ Possible – Bloomberg Tax

“The lack of revenues coming in from government means that all the cities in the state, everybody is really strapped for how they make their payments,” said James McNamee, president of the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association.

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Landlords sue Governor Pritzker over eviction moratorium – WSILTV (Carterville)

The lawsuit says the rule shifts burden from tenants to landlords without subsidizing their costs, landlords say they should have the same protections under state law.

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Pritzker looks to federal government for effective COVID-19 treatment to lift all state restrictions – Center Square

“I have been in somewhat regular touch with Dr. Fauci, not on this subject particularly, but in my next conversation with him I’ll certainly ask him what he thinks the right kind of measurement on goes first is because I really value his opinion,” Pritzker said.

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Pritzker faces pressure from Democrats, Republicans over shorting payments to nonprofits – Center Square

“There’s no punishment involved,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “(W)e have to marshal our resources. When someone’s getting direct federal dollars to cover the very same expenses that would have been covered by the state, it seems logical to me for the time being to use those resources to cover other challenges that we have during this very difficult time.”

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Illinois restaurants, bars take brunt of job losses amid harsh lockdown – Illinois Policy

Although the unemployment claims data appears to be improved from the past couple of months, Illinois’ economy, which lost nearly 800,000 jobs at the peak of the crisis, is yet to see any substantial jobs rebound.

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Illinois ranks second-last when it comes to reopening bars and restaurants – Illinois Policy

A study from WalletHub ranks Illinois 50th-most severe on COVID-19 restrictions on bars and restaurants. 233,500 jobs were lost in that sector since February.

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State and coronavirus risks weigh on University of Illinois credit – The Bond Buyer

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Many Still Struggle To Get A Hold Of Illinois Unemployment Offices; One Woman Finds Success Leaving Contact Info In Note At Door – CBS2 (Chicago)

But she also expressed confusion at why in-person interaction with IDES employees isn’t clear yet with Illinois entering Phase 4 of reopening. “There’s restaurants opened and hair dressing salons opened, but this still isn’t?”

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‘Guns are flying off the shelf.’ Permit applications up more than 500% amid coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd fallout. – Chicago Tribune

A worker puts a rifle into a box June 17, 2020, at Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines.

With a wave of crises crashing across the country, more than 40,000 Illinoisans applied for a gun permit in a little more than two weeks this month, more than 500% over this time last year, according to Illinois State Police.

“Take a full glass of coronavirus, shake in a shot of riots and another of this defund police notion, and everything goes crazy,” said Glavin, owner of Fox Valley Shooting Range. “Not to mention the backlog on background checks.”

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Abbott cuts ties with conservative lobbyist in wake of BLM controversy – Crain’s

Abbott Laboratories has cut ties with Matt Schlapp’s lobbying firm. The news comes after the American Conservative Union chairman criticized the Black Lives Matter movement.

Abbott spokeswoman Darcy Ross said today that the North Chicago medical device maker no longer works with Cove Strategies. Last year the company paid Schlapp’s firm $190,000, about 5 percent of Abbott’s lobbying spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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Fed Aid Helps Illinois Cut Unpaid Bills to Lowest in Five Years – Bloomberg

The state used $1.2 billion of proceeds from a short-term Fed loan to help pay down the bills, said Carol Knowles, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Budget and Management. The Fed established its Municipal Liquidity Facility to help state and local governments bridge funding gaps created by the pandemic.

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Lawmakers to Pritzker: don’t withhold payments to non-profits – WMBD/WYZZ (Peoria)

Lawmakers are asking the administration to watch over the Department of Human Services’ and the Department of Children and Family Services’ as both are reportedly stalling state funding to non-profits that received the Paycheck Protection Program funds from the federal government.

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University of Chicago among hospitals eliminating COVID-19 units as number of patients drops – Chicago Tribune

“Part of the regular day-to-day function of the hospital is dealing with patients on isolation and keeping all of the staff and other patients safe,” one epidemiologist said, noting that the hospital typically deals with illnesses such as the flu and whooping cough. “That’s the regular business that we do, with masks and gowns and hand washing and negative pressure rooms when indicated.”

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State health officials see progress in effort to reduce COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes – Center Square

The latest data from IDPH on COVID-19 and long-term care facilities showed there were a total of 21,390 positive cases and 3,649 deaths. That’s more than half of the 6,707 total deaths statewide attributed to COVID-19, as of Tuesday evening.

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Illinois awards $50 million in broadband expansion grants – Capitol News

The state funds are being matched with more than $65 million in non-state funds for a total investment of over $115 million.

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COVID-19 economic hit forces Peoria to cut 45 city jobs, offer buyouts – Illinois Policy

In October, residents were slapped with a “public safety pension fee” to help the city get an additional $1.2 million by the end of 2019 to pay down pensions. The City Manager said pension payments for public safety retirees grow 11% each year. The fee was implemented to avoid a property tax increase.

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Illinois treasurer says ‘fair tax’ makes retirement tax more likely – Illinois Policy

The bigger problem is the tax’s impact on small businesses, which are just starting the economic recovery from Pritzker’s COVID-19 lockdown orders. A progressive tax would mean up to a 47% tax increase on over 100,000 small businesses, the state’s most prolific jobs creators.

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State Bankruptcy Revisited – National Affairs

David Skeel, law prof: "The best way for Congress to help states, both with their immediate coronavirus problems and with longer-term structural issues, would be to include a state-bankruptcy framework within any pandemic-response aid package it enacts."

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Why You Should Worry About the Pension Fund Crisis – The Street

"To put the pension funding deficit into perspective, consider the student loan crisis, which has gotten lots of attention in recent years for its potential to trigger another credit crisis like the one we saw in 2008 and 2009."

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Durbin challenger supports Warren’s tax proposal – FOX32 (Chicago)

VIDEO: Republican Mark Curran, who is the challenger to US Senator Dick Durbin, spoke with FOX32 and told us he supports Elizabeth Warren's tax proposal.

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Illinois hospitals running low on blood, shortage could affect services – Center Square

“We’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands of blood drives canceled,” said Jim Watts, president of the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers. “A lot of them are the businesses where employees are working remotely. It’s different where you can walk down to the conference room and give blood versus making an appointment and drive across town.”

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Column: Pritzker’s coronavirus rules get under county sheriffs’ skin – Champaign News-Gazette

Jim Dey: "While county jail populations have been expanding as a result of Pritzker’s refusal to accept transfers, the state’s prison population has been declining. He’s ordered mass releases of prison inmates as a means of controlling the spread of the virus."

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Illinois Right to Life sues over ban on gatherings – Liberty Justice Center

“The governor has said it’s ok for some organizations to gather, to fundraise and to rally support around their cause but everyone else faces the threat of police enforcement or being shut down,” said Mary Kate Knorr, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “Our request is simple: Equal treatment under the law."

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Neil Steinberg: Where’s the outrage? Funny you should ask. – Chicago Sun-Times

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Crowds tear down statues, attack Wisconsin state senator – Associated Press

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Tale of Quad Cities: Different Reopening Regimes Split Economy of Border Communities – Wall Street Journal

Iowa side booms while Illinois side languishes. The scene is playing out in other border communities around the country where workers and shoppers regularly cross state lines. The relatively stringent lockdown regime in Illinois compared with Iowa has created a clear shift in current spending patterns and potential longer-term consequences.

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Pritzker announces $85 million in grants to help businesses, communities recover – WAND (Decatur)

Businesses eligible for Business Interruption Grants include restaurants and bars; barbershops and salons; health and fitness centers; as well as businesses located in DIAs (low-income areas that have experienced high COVID-19 numbers) which have had reports of recent property damage due to civil unrest.

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Illinois schools can resume in-person instruction this fall, governor says – WGNTV (Chicago)

As part of their plans, the state says schools may develop “blended” schedules to keep groups smaller, which combines e-learning and in-person instruction. They could also extend their school year into the summer to accommodate additional days.

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New coalition urges Illinois to continue cautious reopening – Center Square

(But) An analysis of state data by financial nonprofit Wirepoints contends portions of Illinois should be much further along with lifting restrictions at this point. “The data supporting that claim is overwhelming, especially when the downstate numbers are compared with those of the Chicagoland region,” Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski said.

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Struggling hotel owners want convention capacity increased – Center Square

“Our proposal is to instead base it on a percentage of occupancy of the ballroom or venue where the event is held because we have venues that are far larger that have high ceilings and great ventilation,” Mark Jacobson, president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, said.

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Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for state government tax revenues – AEI

We estimate that the economic declines implied by recent forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office will lead to a shortfall of roughly $106 billion in states’ sales and income tax revenues for the 2021 fiscal year. Additional tax shortfalls from the second quarter of 2020 may amount to roughly $42 billion.

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IL school board says schools should open this fall; Pritzker says I dunno – The Barbershop

"Maps, social distancing, groups no larger than 50? This is absurd. Schools don't operate like that."

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Illinois Sheriffs’ Association Rips Amazon for Selling ‘Blue Lives Murder’ Shirts

"We would respectfully ask that Amazon partner with all of us to help better engage our communities in a positive fashion that promotes trust and relationship building than one that clearly looks to tear at the fabrics on which we all believe."

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Illinois Supreme Court to get diversity and inclusion officer – WGNTV (Chicago)

“People of color have no less expectation of fairness, equity and freedom from racial discrimination than others, yet they are continually confronted with racial injustices that the Courts have the ability to nullify and set right,” it said.

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Analysis: New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois see sharpest drop in residential building during pandemic – Center Square

A dramatic decline in new housing unit authorizations now indicates that there will be a prolonged slowdown in new home construction in the coming months—the average time between permit issue and the start of construction is about 1-2 months.

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Ralph Martire: The structural shortcomings that produce racial inequities – Daily Herald

Ralph Martire is executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and the Arthur Rubloff Professor of Public Policy at Roosevelt University.

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Could COVID-19 Spark a Downstate Renaissance? – Chicago Magazine

"A couple who paid $250,000 for a two-bedroom condo in Chicago could buy a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Springfield for the same price, Langfelder said. And as a state capital with a large white-collar workforce, Springfield is well-equipped for remote work: The city operates its own fiber optic network, with 270 miles of cable."

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COVID-19 damage control requires fair tax – One Illinois

"Now property-tax 'relief' is no longer pie in the sky, but something the state and local school districts are going to have to account for in any case with the expected decline in property-tax revenue statewide."

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Illinois courts face mountain of cases backed up by pandemic – Center Square

Two Cook County lawyers want the nation’s top court to hear a challenge to the Illinois Supreme Court’s orders suspending the state’s speedy-trial rules during the pandemic... The orders allowed Illinois judges to pause the time period codified in Illinois statute as a criminal defendants right to a speedy trial.

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State releases Phase 4 guidance as hospitalization numbers continue to decline – Capitol News

Hospital bed, intensive care bed and ventilator use by COVID-19 patients on Monday all were at lows since the state began reporting the numbers daily on April 12, with 1,628, 419 and 256, respectively.

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Attorney says ‘takings lawsuits’ over governor’s pandemic orders could cost taxpayers billions – Center Square

“There’s not been one case yet [to] take on the real underlying factual issues, putting on some testimony,” attorney Thomas DeVore said. “I’d love nothing more to get the governor on the stand and ask his some questions."

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Illinois Superintendents Ponder ‘What It Will Take’ To Reopen Schools – Patch Chicago

In Illinois, where the state hasn't released its guidance yet, superintendents have started the planning process for fall reopenings — and attempted to game out additional costs. Working with flat budgets, they are trying to ensure students and staff members are safe, even as they work to contain the spread of the virus in schools.

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Study finds Illinois relies on property taxes more than most other states – Center Square

A policy analyst with the Tax Foundation's Center for State Tax Policy said property taxes are just one piece of the puzzle, and other states more reliant on property taxes for revenue still end up having a better overall tax climate than Illinois.

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Editorial: Illinois universities were suffering before COVID-19. Now what? – Chicago Tribune

"From 2000 to 2018, the number of Illinois residents enrolled as freshmen outside the state, either in public or private colleges, jumped 73%. By 2018, nearly half of the state’s high school graduates on their way to four-year colleges chose institutions out of state."

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COVID Has Spread High Speed Internet in Illinois – Alton Daily News

Earlier this year, Illinois began a $400-million matching funds program – Connect Illinois – to expand internet networks in areas with the greatest needs. A state mapping effort will determine where state investment makes the most sense.

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Midwest gambling faces long odds as COVID-19 turns tables – NWI Times

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Illinois agrees to give nurses COVID-19 hazard pay, protections – WTVO/WQRF (Rockford)

The new benefits apply to all registered nurses who work in state mental health facilities, correctional centers, Illinois Youth Centers, veteran’s administration homes, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and the Department of Public Health.

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Commentary: State Lawmakers Against State Bailouts – Newsweek

"Illinois has committed to over $486 billion ($38,000 per resident) in bonded debt and unfunded public pension and OPEB liabilities—equal to 56 percent of the state's GDP. It should come as no surprise that leaders in Springfield are now at the front of the line to support a federal bailout of states."

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Editorial: The politics of being impolitic – Champaign News-Gazette

"(D)id Frerichs err by speaking truthfully to his audience about tax options if the amendment passes? Not by our lights. His candor is commendable. It’s too bad so few public officials follow that example."

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World trapshooting meet’s cancellation angers southern Ill. – The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale)

Rep. Terri Bryant, a Murphysboro Republican, called the decision a “$30 million kick in the gut.” Democratic Steeleville Rep. Nathan Reitz says advocates worked all last weekend on a safety plan and delivered a 41-page outline to the departments of Public Health and Natural Resources.

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Illinois colleges release fall semester plans – Center Square

“If the situation with the pandemic changes, we may have to pivot very quickly back to potentially all online courses if the situation dictates,” a spokesperson for Illinois State University said.

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Illinois released white inmates at higher rates in pandemic – WGNTV (Chicago)

David Olson, a Loyola University Chicago criminologist, warned that racial disparities in early release data could stem from factors both outside, and within, the department’s control.